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Archive for Monday, October 28, 2013

School board hires technology consultant, narrows search for construction managers

October 28, 2013

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The Lawrence school board agreed tonight to select one firm to oversee the upcoming technology upgrades being installed throughout the district, and agreed to enter contract talks with two other firms to supervise construction and renovation projects in most of the district's buildings.

Both projects are part of the $92.5 million bond issue that voters approved in April.

Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A., a Wichita firm with offices in Lawrence, was chosen as the firm to supervise all technology-related aspects of the bond project.

Assistant Superintendent Kyle Hayden said PEC has worked with the district's Information Technology department extensively in the past. It's job will be to monitor all aspects of design and construction in the bond-funded projects to make sure they adhere to the district's technology goals.

The bond projects involve upgrading and expanding all 14 elementary schools and both high schools in the district. The bond package also includes $6.5 million for technology upgrades, most of which involves expanding the district's wireless network to enable schools to engage in more online instruction using digital media.

The contract calls for paying PEC a maximum of $160,000 for its services.

The board also tentatively agreed to select two construction firms to act as “construction manager at risk” on different parts of the construction projects.

Subject to agreement on a final contract, the board agreed to hire McCownGordon Construction of Kansas City, Mo., to supervise one package of projects, and Nabholz Construction Services of Olathe to manage the second package.

Dean Youngers, the district's construction manager, said those firms were selected from among four finalists out of 11 firms that responded to the district's request for proposals.

Pending a final contract, McCownGordon will manage construction projects at Broken Arrow, Cordley, Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, Pinckney, Prairie Park, Quail Run, Sunflower and Sunset Hill schools.

Nabholz will be in charge of projects at Free State High School, Lawrence High, Kennedy, Deerfield and Schwegler, as well as construction of the new College and Career Center being planned near 31st Street and Haskell Avenue.

All of the various construction projects were divided into two “packages.”

In other business, the board:

• Agreed to purchase eight large-volume copiers and related software from Ricoh for $368,541, plus an estimated $55,200 in annual maintenance costs, to replace copying equipment the district is currently leasing for $104,031 per year.

• Authorized district staff to continue negotiating for the possible purchase of a 20,000-square-foot warehouse facility for an estimated $75,400 to replace the 10,000-square-foot warehouse the district is currently leasing for $63,600 per year.

• Gave final approval to establishing a Boundary Advisory Committee and guidelines for the committee's operation.

• Approved several changes and updates to the board's policy manual.

• Approved a software license agreement not to exceed $38,327 with Follett Software Co. for software to track textbook inventory at each of the district's 14 elementary and four middle schools.

• Approved payment of $1,303,673 to K12 Inc., for management of the Lawrence Virtual High School program for the 2013-2014 school year.

• And approved an amendment to a contract with Tiny-k Early Intervention to allow pass-through payment of state categorical aid for extended school year services to infants and toddlers with special needs.

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Contact Journal-World education reporter Elliot Hughes: ehughes@ljworld.com

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